Soundsmith Cartridge - Carmen MkII ES

The Carmen MKII design resolves... Learn More


Availability: In stock


The Carmen MKII design resolves high performance at an affordable price. A dramatic deep and wide soundstage, and ultra trackability.
The ES Series version of the Stereophile Class B Recommended Component Award Winner!

Unparalleled 2 Year Warranty! Retip is less than 20% of MSRP at $300!

The Soundsmith ES Series Featuring Upgraded Performance, Design and the Dynamic Energy Management System (DEMS)!

What is the Dynamic Energy Management System (DEMS)?
The ES line features not only a dramatic new look, but is a significant evolution of the Dynamic Energy Management System (DEMS) design. The new Soundsmith ES cartridge designs are a significant advancement in cartridge performance due to their ability to direct internal vibrational forces without reflection and disperse them properly to the tone arm. The absence of reflections enables the stylus to stay in far greater statistical contact with the groove walls — a critically important technical refinement. Increased liquidity and reduced "grain," without loss of detail are some of the immediately discernible advantages of Soundsmith's new ES models. The new line also features Azimuth adjustment built-in to each cartridge, as well as the option for electrical isolation for hum-prone systems.

Every cartridge in Soundsmith's lineup will now feature their sleek new ES body design. The upgrade is far more than cosmetic; the new shape is a departure from the reflective and "boxy" design of many cartridges whose internal construction contribute to uncontrolled vibrational issues adversely effecting performance. Peter Ledermann, president of Soundsmith, says, "Think of how singing in an open field compares with singing in a shower." Soundsmith has always challenged conventions, looking deeper into nuances of cartridge design that dramatically affect immediate and long term performance. These have included extreme reductions of moving mass and the use of novel materials and designs. The new ES lineup is a continuation of that research and development.

The Carmen MKII was created out of the desire to make a very high performance design at an affordable price… Just slightly lush with a well developed midrange, the Carmen MKII is surprisingly pleasing and will seduce you into late listening sessions. The stylus used is a part of what makes it special; an ultralow mass cut and polished into a true Hyper-Elliptical shape. The combination of low tip mass and the Moving Iron gives the Carmen MKII a tremendous resolution advantage over MC designs selling for more than twice the price. Housed in our new ES DEMS body design, the Carmen MKII delivers.

An Unparalleled Warranty:
The Carmen Cartridge is covered for a full two years. Retip is less than 20% of the retail ($199). An absolutely unheard of warranty for cartridges. Made in the USA, the Soundsmith cartridges are the best long term values around!

In reviewing the original Carmen cartridge:
"Peter Ledermann's recommendation of his new Soundsmith Carmen Mk II as a phonograph cartridge that met my criteria of a relatively affordable phonograph cartridge ($1000 USD) that is warm, dimensional, musical, and has relatively high output (2.12mV) so you don't have to use an expensive step-up transformer with it to play music, was a superb recommendation that matched my criteria exactly. I've immensely enjoyed my time listening to the new Carmen Mk II, and I can easily recommend it for its enchanting and music lover friendly blend of live-like musicality and well-balanced audiophile-style sonics, which drew me into the music so easily that I quickly set aside my reviewing mindset and just settled into music listening for the sheer joy of the experience." - Jeff Day,

"I'm always on the hunt for cartridges that sound colorful, sensual, visceral, and detailed—and are easy on my mind and wallet. The humble Soundsmith Carmen did and was all of that, which means that it plays with the best cartridges of my experience. Peter Ledermann's designs don't sound like any MC, MM, or MI cartridge I've heard. They stand apart." - Herb Reichert,

Stylus: Nude Elliptical, 0.120mm SQ
Radius of curvature: 6 x 17 µm
Cantilever: Aluminum Alloy
Recommended Tracking force: 1.3-1.6 gm
Effective tip mass: 0.35 mg
Compliance: 22 µm/mN
Frequency response: 20-20,000 Hz ± 2.5 dB
Channel Separation (stereo only): 1000 Hz >26 dB, 50-15,000 >20 dB
Channel difference: <1.6 dB (Stereo), <1.0 dB (Mono)
Output voltage: 2.12 mV
Cartridge weight: 9.2 Grams
Loading: = 47 kO

2 Year Warranty
Retip: $300

Additional Information

Record Label Soundsmith
Music Genre No